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The teaching progression of first-time ESL teachers in a South Korean private preschool

Taylor, Laura (2012) The teaching progression of first-time ESL teachers in a South Korean private preschool. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

In some instances, first-time native English speaking teachers embarking on one-year contracts in South Korea have little or no experience with either teaching, or with the English as a Second Language (ESL) context. Further, research on the knowledge base of first-time teachers and how this knowledge base links to their experiences in the classroom is relatively limited. This thesis argues that there are certain patterns and coping mechanisms that first-time native English speaking teachers use in the preschool classroom in order to complete their first year of ESL teaching. It proposes that these teachers are faced, not only with teaching dilemmas, but with external issues relating to ‘culture shock,’ which influence their practices in the classroom. This mixed methods case-study examines four first-time native English speaking North American ESL teachers employed at a private preschool (hagwon) in South Korea over the first 12 weeks of their year-long contracts. The data derive from interviews, journal entries and classroom observations collected in Korea in 2010-2011. Findings, which were coded and evaluated using the software programs atlas.ti and SPSS, suggest that the use of ‘practical knowledge’ (experiences or reflections teachers have based on past experiences) in the classroom is necessary, as little direction is given by the staff and training is unavailable. Moreover, teacher enthusiasm and motivation in the classroom and with administrative tasks is quickly muted due to various cultural differences. Main differences include the disparity between levels of support expected and those offered by Korean staff, a language barrier between Korean and English and difficulties when coping with some external issues specific to life in Korea. Further, findings related to some of the discipline techniques in the classroom suggest that consistency in the classroom is an issue when dealing with instances of ‘specific misbehaviour’ and strategies employed by first-time English teachers are often ineffective in the classroom as a result. Based on these findings it is questionable as to whether native English speaking teachers are the best option for private preschools in Korea.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Department of Education (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.568103
Depositing User: Laura Taylor
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2013 15:57
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2018 15:20
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/3366

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